Magazine article Artforum International

"Arbeit Essen Angst": Kokerei Zollverein. (Essen)

Magazine article Artforum International

"Arbeit Essen Angst": Kokerei Zollverein. (Essen)

Article excerpt

More and more, art addresses the human and economic conditions of society. Since the G8 summit in Genoa, there have been efforts to formulate a viable basis for critiquing globalization in cultural as well as economic terms. This trend remains unchanged by the events of September 11; indeed, the crisis of a world defined by economic dependencies has become all the more visible.

Up until the '90s, the building housing the Kokerei Zollverein was used to process coal. Then the factory closed, finally reopening last year as a venue for cultural activities. In addition to the newly founded Kunstverein, its extensive grounds house a stage for modem dance; concert halls and museum-style exhibition halls are also planned. For "Arbeit Essen Angst," twenty-seven artists from around the world were invited to cover the themes of work, leisure, and fear. Among the older works shown were Patricia Hearst A Thru Z, 1979-89, Dennis Adams's media-based study of representations of William Randolph Hearst's granddaughter; and Stephen Willats's photo-text research piece Vier Inseln in Berlin (Four islands in Berlin), 1980, about life in Berlin's high-rise developments. Olaf Metzel hung his installation Im Griinen (In the country), 1992, made of camping tents and camouflage netting--which formerly stood as a sharp commentary on the nonchalant reportage from the world's civil war zones--inside an open sha ftway, as a symbol for "leisure-park Germany."

But for the most part, "Arbeit Essen Angst" relied on artists in their twenties and thirties. Laura Horelli from Finland was last seen in the Venice Biennale, with photo collages of women in politics. Here she exhibited several videos on local residents: The viewer quickly notes that the protagonists' respective jobs--or unemployment--dominate their leisure activities too. …

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